Every Monday, we present to you a company that innovates.
“The cold in Quebec, we’re good at that, now how can we make a product out of it?” It was on a freezing January day in 2013 that Julien Michalk asked himself this question. He will respond to this – after four years of “tinkering” – by developing Ufrost, a machine capable of freezing vodka, for example, in a short time, using recycled CO2.
“It’s the microwave of the cold, illustrates Mr. Michalk, founder and president of Ufrost. It is a tool that is capable of freezing or cooling anything extremely quickly. We use recycled CO2 to do this and it goes down to -100°C in seconds. »
“It’s powerful enough to freeze alcohol.” Vodka, you put it in your freezer and it will never freeze because your freezer is not cold enough. We, in one minute, we can make a cube of vodka. »
Ufrost was founded in 2016 by Mr. Michalk and his cousin. She eventually jumped ship, “entrepreneurship not being for her.” Then, in 2021, new investors decided to embark on the adventure of frozen cubes. Since then, a first version of the machine has been used in events. And it is the Ufrost team that shows up – with the machine – at parties or congresses to prepare unique cocktails. The Montreal company now has around thirty employees, including two research and development engineers.
“We have a frozen bar service. We make you, for example, a white cocktail with a frosted part, it can be a red cube with alcohol. When it melts, your cocktail changes color and taste,” describes Julien Michalk, an engineer by training.
The machine can generate eight frozen portions the size of a macaron in one use.
The company also prepares frosted bites made up of alcohol and syrup, among other things. With this service, Ufrost has set itself the objective “to give added value to the cold”.
Within a month or two, an improved and smaller version of the machine, the Ufrost Pro, will be released. His price ? : $4000. This will be intended for restaurateurs who particularly wish to improve their cocktail offer. It will be possible for them to rent it. Several establishments are on the waiting list.
But Julien Michalk will not stop there. He eventually wants to enter the kitchens of Quebecers. “Three to five years from now, we want to make a model for the home, Soda Stream or Nespresso style. »
The company could also extend its tentacles outside of Quebec. Ufrost will open an office in Toronto in the fall and could make its U.S. debut in 2024. “We want Quebec cold to shine on all kitchen counters around the world,” says Julien Michalk.